Saturday, March 28, 2020

March 24, Tuesday - Saturday March, Ft Myers

Social distancing with family.
Here's hoping you are all doing well.

We like the rest of the world, continue on with social distancing and isolation but we are now doing it with family.
We love spending time together and we are taking advantage of this time with Captain Bryan to help with some maintenance on Summer Breeze. 
Being tied up to Sea Dweller, we just step over and straight across. Bella made the jump by herself one day and scared us all so we try to catch her and carry her across. 

We are all doing our best to take all precautions from exposure but we did go to Publix yesterday and fortunately found it very well stocked. Melissa is having a difficult time in Charlotte (Matthews) locating fresh produce or stocked shelves. The boys also have had to go to West Marine for parts and thankfully those stores are not busy. We have heard that many marinas along the coast are closing or not taking any transient cruisers which is a problem for those needing fuel, water or provisions. We are hunkering down here for a bit. 

These are some of the views from the property where Sea Dweller, Bryan and Mary now live! It is on a nice quiet but wide canal in a small subdivision off the Caloosahatchie River about 23 miles inland from the coast. The beautiful palm tree view is on the property he tried to purchase originally but he couldn't come to closing terms with that seller. We all now think that he got the better property.

View from the end of the canal. You can see how wide this canal is especially with Summer Breeze tied up next to Sea Dweller.
He (we) have lots of turning room.

View from the street. It is obviously a vacant lot with not great grass but they will be slowly working on fixing that and are already planting several trees. Sea Dweller is longer than we are so you can only see our flybridge bimini top from the street.

View down the canal to the river.

The boys are working on finding the real cause of the Northern Lights generator issue. It has been shutting off by itself off and on since our Bahama trip last spring and summer. Bruce thought it was repaired when he rebuilt the leaky Racor but no, it continued. Then a few days ago, he and Bryan replaced it with a brand new one! Still it shutdown after a while so they have hopefully isolated another problem and will be replacing the fuse connector today.
I say they but as you can see WHO is doing most of the work!
The generator shut down problem is now officially fixed and they are on to the port engine issue of it not wanting to shut down! 

Thursday morning fog
was all around the gulf coastal areas.

We went on a river ride in their dinghy to get out a bit. Social distancing together but from others. 
Bella loved it because she was on crab pot float level!

Sunset on the Caloosahatchie River.

They had bought several trees for the yard. Meyer Lemon, Key Lime, Haas Avocado, Coconut Palm and 2 Ice Cream Banana trees!  We spent 2 mornings out in the yard getting them planted. It is already too hot to be out there by 9 - 10 in the morning so we tried to get the shovel in the ground by 8 to 8:30. 

Trees all done! They have some great landscaping plans for the future.

Summer Breeze and Sea Dweller
Both boats have clean bottoms as we had 2 divers out this morning. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Saturday March 22- Monday March 23, In the Gulf of Mexico, truly social distancing

Saturday March 22

We left the marina at 7:10 am. Finally Fun Again, Andy and Sharon left as well and making the same 1st anchorage stop as us, Indian Key Pass, south of Marco Island and the Cape Romano Shoals. Bella got a special pb treat and we got scopolamine patches. Seas were 2-3 as predicted, a beautiful day to cross 97 miles of the Gulf of Mexico while listening to Jack Johnson. 

Finally Fun Again left us in their wake as they run about 10 knots while we average around 7 knots tho we kept radio contact. ⚓️⚓️⚓️

There are tons and tons of crab/lobster pot floats in this world. They are all up the ICW and Fl, especially the Keys and the Gulf is littered with them! We were able to travel on auto pilot as it was a straight shot but not for long increments. We had to be on a vigilant watch for them. And there were lots of big and beautiful dolphins that wanted to swim along with us. So, we got sidetracked by then and didn’t see the dark float that was barely above water in time. Yep! We snatched it! It was the thump, thump, thump that convinced us. It snagged the stabilizer fin and we were dragging it along with the float banging along our bottom. We went into idle mode and Bruce was sure hoping he wasn’t going to get to jump in and he got lucky by being able to pull it away from the fin with a boat hook and it wasn’t wrapped around the prop. 

The seas calmed down even more as the day went on. We have been out of cell range and sight of land most of the day. 
We anchored at Indian Key Pass inlet on north side of the key, not too far from Finally Fun Again

Miles 89

Sunday March 22

Bella on day 2 of special PB treats!

Anchor up and under way by 7 am, just barely light enough. 10 minutes later the port engine shuts down with an overheated something. We continued on with 1 engine at a slow pace while senior engineer went into the ER to determine the problem, checking the sea strainer and the impeller but both were fine. Then the engine wouldn’t restart so we wondered if there could be any residual rope or debris on the propeller or shaft or???! So we stop and anchor just offshore and south of the Cape Romano Shoals and the diver (snorkeler) goes overboard and he finds nothing again.  We troubleshoot different items with  a consult call to our personal and private professional captain Bryan. We suspect it could be the solenoid that is causing the start up issue as that is what we think is causing the shutdown issue. And it starts and we run the engine again with NO more overheating. So!!!! Another item to add to our list of work to be done. 
The seas were very calm this morning but picked up a bit by midday but not really causing a problem. 

Who is driving this boat? Bella is!

View of Ft Myers along the coastline

Anchored just inside the bridges San Carlos bay behind Kitchell Key 
Miles 67

Our offshore Gulf of Mexico run over 2 days.

Monday, March 23

We are only about 3 hours from Bryan and Mary so we leave at 10 AM arriving at about 1:30. We are able to tie up to them at their dock and hopefully the electrical tie ups will work for us to stay here. If not, we have a tentative reservation at the marina close by that Bryan had stayed at.

Summer Breeze and Sea Dweller side by side. 
We are the small boat.
It is a very nice small subdivision with wide canals off the river, about 23 miles inland.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

March 20-21, Time to leave Key West

To read the full web version, click here

Friday, March 20
We made a grocery store run today to the local shop that is within walking distance and we took every precaution we could! 
We walked on the quiet streets and it is wierd! When you do pass someone else, no one is looking at each other. I don't get that. Its like "you don't see me". 

We set Bruce up as the cart driver using produce bags as gloves. Hey, when you are the creative type, it just works!
We managed to find some great fresh produce that should last us a little while so we are happy. But no TP! What gives with that? We should have plenty but because we can't seem to get any makes us worry. 😓

We leave early tomorrow morning as the winds and seas are supposed to be 2-3' and less windy as we cross the southeastern side of the Gulf. We have a buddy boat as Finally Fun Again will also be leaving in the same direction heading to Clearwater. We have a long day and plan on heading out by sunlight. 

Saturday, March 21
Beautiful morning in Key West 

We are getting ready to release our dock lines. 

Finally Fun Again family docked just in front of us has the same plans so it’s great that we get to “buddy boat” across the Gulf. 
Sunrise leaving Key West. 

We are happy to leave here. Unfortunately it was not the trip we planned for, as no one planned for Covid 19 to disrupt their lives.
We will feel better that we can further sequester ourselves with family and if we have to leave Summer Breeze in Florida because of marina and fuel closures (there is talk of that!) then it would be close to Bryan. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

March 17-19, NOT the week to be in a tourist destination!

We continue our 1 and only week that we planned to be in a tourist destination to have fun and go out to eat and play but no.... we have been quarantined on the boat still. Our timing is the worst to plan on staying at at the most expensive marina/ location ever! 
Oh well...

March 17, St Patty's Day
Waterfront Brewery at the marina was packed for the celebration!

Today is normally a HUGE celebration world wide. We have heard that many of the famous parades and festivities have all been canceled with many of at the restaurants and bars closing. 
Key West has (HAD) been blowing and going and seemed to be behaving in a"bullet proof" manner as we got here on Saturday. Little did we know, that things were in the works to close it all down, just like the rest of the US and world. The order was given for all bars and clubs to close at 5PM on St Patty's Day but not this one! Waterfront Brewery at the marina, stayed open until 9PM with live music and all, and I do mean ALL of the college spring breakers there. We got to enjoy the party from the back porch (aft deck) of Summer Breeze by ourselves.
The party boats seem to not be bothered with the shutdowns. They are packed with people every day especially for the sunset cruises. I don't understand how they are allowed to still operate. 

Key West is full of chickens and roosters! I remember this from our last visit but where did they all come from? They seem to be wild, all over.

Since Tuesday evening,  I am happy to report that the bars and restaurants have been in compliance. The bars that serve food and some of the restaurants are trying to do the take out orders only thing. That might work in a place like Key West since there are a lot of tourists here but I can imagine that it might be hard for many other places to survive that routine. 
These street scenes are from this morning so they might be a little busier this evening but we have not been walking where the crowds might be. We take morning and late evening walks when it is pretty quiet and stay away from the crowds.

Sunrise view this morning from Summer Breeze.

In the mean time, Bruce is getting caught up on his reading and plans for maintenance while in Ft Myers and Rosie has been painting! 
You can check it out at
Unfortunately, the galleries in Charleston like everything else have had to close the doors so online shopping it is!

Dinner on the flybridge tonight, again. (It's the best place!)

On Saturday morning, the current plan is to head north across the Eastern Gulf of Mexico towards Ft Myers. It will take us 2 days to get there with a midway anchorage. We plan on staying close to and bugging our friends Ridge and Denise and our son, Bryan and Mary for a couple of weeks, though if we do, we will be doing so safely. No hugging, kissing and keeping a safe but social distance. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Saturday March 14 - Monday March 16, Marathon to Key West

To read the full web version, click here

We finally made it to Key West, which is the furthest southwestern we were going. It took us 6 weeks to get here mostly because of the weather delays we encountered along the way plus the several scheduled layovers here and there. 

We have been to Key West before several times but never arriving by boat! The marina that we were finally able to get some reservations for (Key West Bight Marina) is close to everything. After getting settled from what we thought to be a stressful docking, not knowing the marina and having a hefty wind blowing, we didn't realize that we had "friends" watching! Bob (ICW Bob) and Ann are just across from us and new friends, Andy and Sharon (ex DeFever owners) were right in front of us. So, cocktail hour aboard Summer Breeze the next evening. 
And at least we fooled them with what they thought was a perfect docking! We had wind and current and a tight area in which to turn this heavy under powered beast in. We safely landed once again under the hands of the master captain, Bruce. 

Sunrise on Saturday March 14, leaving Marathon on the outside, Hawk Channel route. Yes, both Bella and Rosie had special laced peanut butter treats before the journey. 
All is good!

We arrived into the channel of Key West and see a huge cruise ship hoping that there aren't any travelers aboard but there was! Apparently this was the last cruise ship allowed to dock here.

Summer Breeze in front of the catamaran, safely and securely tucked in. 

View from the deck of Summer Breeze of the restaurants at the end of the dock. We are a couple of short blocks from Mallory Sq and Duval Street. 

Mallory Square sunset on Saturday night. We had to. We have been self quarantined (really because of the wind) on the boat for 6 weeks! We are needing some walking and socialization! We walk to the Mallory Sq and it is busy but not near as crowded as we have seen in the past.

We don't have much hand sanitizer but we do have a bunch of clorox wipes so off we go with them. Of course we did not think to wipe off my phone from the nice young lady who offered to take our photo. Hopefully the wine in our cups helped with the disinfecting. Right?

As before, Mallory Square sunset did not disappoint! We actually did see a green flash. Well, not a flash for real but a green haze that appeared right after this last sunset photo for a split second! This is our second green flash ever! We saw a true green flash in Hawaii many years ago. 

Duval Street corner. yes, lots of poeple out walking.

In the mean time, Rosie is painting, Bruce is getting caught up on ER work and reading. We take early morning walks when the rest of Key West is still asleep. We have gone out to dinner twice but after the rush when there aren't any tables around us and other wise, we are still pretty much sequestered on the boat. Not what we planned for the Key West part of the trip and our timing is the worst, but it is what it is. We are doing our best to not put ourselves in a bad situation. And it is hard as Key West does not know about the Corona Virus. Well, that's not really true. We learned today that many places are closing, like the museums, the free bus trolley, the play house, the 7 mile bridge run is canceled, etc...., just not the bars and restaurants. Yet. Nor the tour sunset boats! There are at least 7 that go out from our marina! Spring Break seems to be in full swing here.

We are scheduled to be here through Saturday morning then we head north to Ft Myers which will take 2 days going across the Gulf of Mexico.